One of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season isn’t gift-getting, gingerbread house-making, or tree-decorating — it’s perusing those eye-catching Christmas displays in shop windows. This time of year, stores go all out to make sure you’ll check out their wares, even if you never actually set foot inside the store itself. From magical scenes populated with fantastical animals to light displays that will make your jaw drop, here are seven of the most amazing Christmas window displays around the world that you should check out this holiday season.
1. Macy’s Herald Square, New York City
One of New York City’s longest-standing Christmas traditions is the holiday window decorations at Macy’s, and this year, the theme for the six window displays is “Believe in the Wonder.” The theme combines old-school ornaments with modern technology and interactive elements to create the story of Santa Girl, a child who wishes she were Santa. Each window takes us through the girl’s fantasy from the morning of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all the way to Christmas day. There are neon lights, bright colors, a sleepy stuffed dog whose nose must be scratched, a state-of-the-art Santa sleigh truck with robotic arms that viewers can navigate, and an interactive kaleidoscope window for revelers to take a picture of themselves as Santa.
For more Christmas beauty at Macy’s, check out the Seventh Avenue windows to see the 2019 Holiday Barbie in her beautiful gown.
Where: 151 W 34th Street, New York
2. Liberty, London
Legend has it that the beautiful wooden carvings of animals found all over Liberty London’s panels and pillars come alive on Christmas night when the customers are gone. Inspired by this legend and by the real-life story of how the carved creatures came from a Swedish castle before finding a new home at Liberty, the team behind the window display went all out this year. They created a realm where Liberty’s Porcupine, Lima, Dragonfly, Toad, Chameleon, and Peacock come to life, bringing seeds with them. From those seeds grew a magical tree, a large blue and pink bonsai currently floating above the store’s atrium and named “The Tree of Liberty.” The fruit of the tree, large gourds covered in velvet and oozing with crystals, adorn the windows and transport revelers to a magical, exotic, and luxurious place where everything is possible.
Where: Great Marlborough Street, London
3. Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City
This year, Saks Fifth Avenue had one goal: to make children extra happy. To do just that, it mixed Christmas and Disney and decorated the department store in the theme of Frozen 2 — a favorite among kids. The display has six scenes inspired by the film, showing Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and the rest of the cast on a journey through snowy forests and other enchanting environments. Each window is bordered by evergreen adornments and holiday lights, with the entire display becoming a light show when night falls.
Where: 611 Fifth Avenue, New York
4. Galeries Lafayette, Paris
The Galeries Lafayette is well-known for its architectural details that makes the department store gorgeous year-round, but, every year, the beauty of the decor kicks up a notch with the holiday season. This year’s theme for the Galeries’ Christmas ornamentation is “Christmas Beehive” and was put together by Les Prods Biloba. The 11 window displays are filled with worker bees busy baking, decorating, and the like, while the Queen Bee is sitting pretty for everyone to admire. Inside the store, a massive Christmas tree is hanging from the cupola, covered in winter flowers and oversized lights, with the Queen Bee perched on top. Every 30 minutes the tree beehive wakes up and buzzes with activity, so make sure you don’t miss it.
Where: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris
5. Harrods, London
Being London’s most famous department store, expectations are pretty high for Harrods when it comes to holiday decorations. Just like at Liberty, fantastical animals are front and center at Harrods this year. Adhering to the theme of “The Kingdom of Christmas,” windows are filled with zebras carrying beautifully wrapped gifts, snow leopards and bears tidying up presents, and mountain goats helping transport goodies.
Where: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London
6. Bergdorf Goodman, New York City
Bergdorf Goodman on New York City’s Fifth Avenue always has an impressive window display, and this year the store is continuing its tradition with the theme “Bergdorf GoodTimes.” Each window showcases an elaborate scene of games and revelry, steeped in fantasy. The windows include “Game Night,” a pastel and retro take on a slumber party, and “Jackpot,” a giant psychedelic pinball machine, among others.
Where: 754 5th Avenue, New York
7. Selfridges, London
Selfridges is usually the first out of the gate when it comes to showcasing Christmas window displays, and this year it didn’t disappoint. Back in October, the London store unveiled its Christmas theme, “Future Fantasy: A Christmas for Modern Times” in its 13 store windows in London. Each window display is an atypical and ultra-modern take on a popular fairytale, such as Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, and Jack and the Beanstalk. No bright red, green, and gold to be seen in the high-end department store this year — everything is white and silver with neon accents — even Santa is decked out in a shiny metallic outfit. Inside the decorations are aplenty, so when you’re done standing in the cold, head on in and check out the many paper decorations, garlands, snow globes, stylish chrome, and mirrored Christmas trees that adorn the space.
Where: 400 Oxford Street, London